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Some notes from Chicago (before it's deleted)

TheOriginalCane

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Alright, I'm no @Coach Macho , but I wanted to share some of my thoughts from the weekend in Chicago...

First, the ticket situation. Some of this is on the NCAA, and we still have some residual problems with Beta Blake's ticket office hirees, but I think Dan is trying to do something about it. You still had a bunch of scalping for the Friday games but Sunday was not as bad.

So I flew up Thursday morning, did remote work from my hotel, and then in the evening I ended up going out to a local bar to see the Thursday night games. I went with a couple of people I met at my hotel, one was a guy from Minneapolis who was leaving the next day, the other was a woman from The Netherlands who was travelling for work and was staying until this week. More on that later (no, it's not what you think).

As you may imagine, having Kansas and Iowa State in a Midwestern Regional in Chicago was nuts. They brought way more fans than puny Miami and Providence, and it was palpable. Fortunately, with us having the late game, and all the dirty Kansans leaving, a lot of seats opened up. I had a couple of friends from Chicago who bought tix months ago near mid-court in the 100s, so I was able to join them for the second game.

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We had some Miami fans in our section and the one to the right of us, but I think that was all local Chicago Miami fans and/or people who bought scalped tickets to be behind the bench. You can kinda see that the "official" Miami sections were across the court behind the "Northwestern University" banner, and those were the sections where the players went after the game to meet fans and sing the alma mater.

We had one UM fan in our section who was wearing full...MARLINS...gear. OK. But mostly Kansas holdovers and Iowa State fans. The security was VERY good about removing people who stood up for prolonged period of times, it was something that a number of us noticed/commented on. Had some Iowa State fans to my immediate right, they cracked me up. The mostly yelled "slow it down", so it was hilarious on the odd occasions when they called for a player to attack an opening. Oh well, they pretty much got what they asked for on tempo. And you could tell they were starved for offense, they went nuts for simple things like "back-to-back baskets". Had a guy a few rows in front of us who kept yelling "Charlie, Charlie" whenever he missed shots, so at one point I yelled "scoreboard" at him. Then he turned around and I could see he had some sort of Kansas shirt on under his jacket, so I figured he just didn't like Charlie for leaving Kansas. Whatever.

The Iowa State fans seemed to be really impressed with (and unaware of) McGusty. I had a nice laugh on that one. I told the guys next to me that the game was exactly what I expected, as far as UM having 4 guys in double-digits and playing better in the second half than the first. I think they legitimately expected to win, and while the seeding numbers were close, Miami clearly had more offensive talent and balance. We definitely botched it on a bunch of turnovers that we created. I was surprised to see Sam taking (and hitting) 3s with his hand bandaged, and it seemed like he aggravated it in a tussle with an ISU player mid-game.

So anyhow, I'm back at my hotel lobby on Saturday, and I see this woman in my hotel wearing a UM adidas zip-up, so I kinda tip my cap to her. No big deal, I've seen a bunch of UM fans in Chicago, I even ran into some of the guys from the UM pep band on Thursday night out at the bar. All good. So it's Restaurant Week in Chicago, I decide to hit a Lou Malnati's, and I mention it to the woman from The Netherlands. She says she met someone, and can this other person come, and I say "sure". Turns out it's the woman I saw in the UM adidas zip-up. Even crazier? The woman in the UM gear is BENSLEY JOSEPH'S MOM! So we start talking, and it was amazing. Apparently, Bensley was born in Miami, but the family moved away when he was 1. He had a bunch of other offers, but his mom said he wanted to go back to his "hometown", which made me smile. He definitely wanted to make a name for himself and help UM to turn things around. So she was trying to get her ticket to download on her phone (again, that damn NCAA.com site was not ideal). Turns out, nearly everyone on the team gave their extra tickets to Charlie Moore's family, and had done something similar for Bensley when we played in Boston. Very nice touch. A couple of guys on the board know about this, but when some posters had posted about having extra tickets, I was reaching out to them. First, a pair of friends had driven in from Louisville for the Sweet 16, but didn't have Elite 8 and I wasn't sure when they were leaving. But I also was trying to find a ticket for the woman from The Netherlands and "her friend who is going", but in our miscommunication, I had no idea that Bensley's mom was waiting on the ticket to come through from UM/NCAA, I mistakenly thought she NEEDED to get a ticket. So the woman from the Netherlands got a ticket from StubHub and Bensley's mom was going to try to get us to come down to her section, but we didn't get down until the "bad part" of the game (the second half).

1648495290113.png


I sent this picture to @SpikeUM , he commented on the comfy seats, but I sent it to him because of the real-life sighting of the Mighty Mexican Silverhair himself, President Julio Frenk. There weren't a lot of great moments in the second half, so I tended to keep my iPhone in my jacket, and this picture is during the net-cutting "ceremony" after the game.

Anyhow, I got to hang out with some of the players and families after the game. Harlond Beverly looks good, seems to be moving well, I certainly hope he's ready to return. It looked like he was both happy to see how the year transpired, but a bit sad that he couldn't contribute. Rodney looked distraught, he had his hoodie pulled tight, I wouldn't have known it was him except for...well, he IS a big guy. Zay had a smile (does he have any other facial expression), but you could tell he was also wistful and down about how the second half went. Apparently, a bunch of the guys were in tears in the locker room and it took them a while to come out and meet with their families. Even Bensley was down, so I told him how much the year meant to people like me, who have never seen us get past the Sweet 16.

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I actually rode to and from the game with Bensley's mom, they had no special transportation or parking for the families, but it was still a nice time and a big (and happy) coincidence. Once we got back to the hotel, I then took a Lyft to Midway, I moved my return flight from Monday morning to Sunday night once I figured out that we had the early game.

Oh, and have I mentioned how much I hate Kansans? I'm from Missouri, but come on. Motherfvckers behind me were making fun of the ibis, but then tried to spin some heartwarming story about the "jayhawk", which is a fictitious bird. Fugg 'em.

Still, all-in-all, it was a great trip. We just played our worst half of the year at the end. 47-15 in that second half. Brutal. Just kept running down and chucking threes and whatnot.

I said it in another thread, we have signed all F/C guys for next year, no guards thus far. Let's pray that Wong comes back and Beverly is healthy, but we really need to get a portal PG to replace Charlie. If we do that, we've got a damn good chance to be dancing for quite a while next year.

Peace out on another good year in hoops (first in a few), and let's get @Rellyrell and @SWFLHurricane to pressure their contacts to get us those Larranaga special edition UM Yeezys for public consumption.
 
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AtlAtty

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Thank you for sharing these experiences, and for attending the games. Sounds like you had a great time but the 2nd half of yesterday's game. But we need fans who are willing to travel to watch the team. UM basketball is too good not to get the love it deserved this year.
I'm 100% in agreement that we need 1-2 guards to run the show next year. Moore had a good year and some really clutch moments, but his production is replaceable. McGusty will be harder to replace IMO. Give L some competent guards, and Wong and Miller returning and we have something again. Miller is definitely coming back. And Wong should return if his goal is the NBA and not Europe.
 

TheOriginalCane

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Thank you for sharing these experiences, and for attending the games. Sounds like you had a great time but the 2nd half of yesterday's game. But we need fans who are willing to travel to watch the team. UM basketball is too good not to get the love it deserved this year.
I'm 100% in agreement that we need 1-2 guards to run the show next year. Moore had a good year and some really clutch moments, but his production is replaceable. McGusty will be harder to replace IMO. Give L some competent guards, and Wong and Miller returning and we have something again. Miller is definitely coming back. And Wong should return if his goal is the NBA and not Europe.


Thank you, sir.

I was not a huge believer in Gary-Coleman-clone Charlie Moore at first, but as I thought about (and compared) UM under Lykes vs. UM under Moore, I could see much better decision-making and floor control from Charlie. And don't get me wrong, McGusty was McGawd, but I think we could find other scorers to pick up the slack. But Charlie's contribution is elusive to duplicate.
 

AtlAtty

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Thank you, sir.

I was not a huge believer in Gary-Coleman-clone Charlie Moore at first, but as I thought about (and compared) UM under Lykes vs. UM under Moore, I could see much better decision-making and floor control from Charlie. And don't get me wrong, McGusty was McGawd, but I think we could find other scorers to pick up the slack. But Charlie's contribution is elusive to duplicate
Yeah Charlie's leadership will be a big loss. But against bigger teams his size was a detriment and lead to turnovers. I would not trade Charlie Moore for many players but I'd love to find a Remy Martin in the portal.
 

Canesbro31

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I say next to what seemed to be bensleys friends against BC, seemed to have needed a lot of extra tickets lmao
 
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2 things:

We had one UM fan in our section who was wearing full...MARLINS...gear. OK.

I'm assuming that was Marlins Man (?) https://twitter.com/marlins_man

Had a guy a few rows in front of us who kept yelling "Charlie, Charlie" whenever he missed shots, so at one point I yelled "scoreboard" at him. Then he turned around and I could see he had some sort of Kansas shirt on under his jacket, so I figured he just didn't like Charlie for leaving Kansas. Whatever.

If I'm remembering correctly, Charlie's time in Lawrence was fairly acrimonious. They're probably still bitter.


Glad you had fun, wish I could have gone.
 

AtlAtty

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TheOriginalCane

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Ha @TheOriginalCane I saw my mom and sister in the background of your Bensley pic. We ran into Isaiah out there after the game and told him thanks for a great season and a great run. He said “thanks for coming to every game” which my 5-year old thought was awesome.View attachment 180500View attachment 180501View attachment 180502View attachment 180503View attachment 180504


Yeah, I saw you guys back there. To describe the layout, I came directly out of the Section 102 opening, which is where we were standing with Bensley. Then you had Rodney standing over by the bathroom with his hoodie pulled tight, and then beyond Rodney (going farther around the corner of the arena) was Zay, and all of the folks who were around him.

I was going to try to get over to where Zay was, just to thank him, but it seemed like he had the bigger crowd.
 

Trav

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Thanks for sharing all that. I got to see the sweet 16 run back in 2013 in Austin (the wins over Pacific and Illinois) and it was a fun experience. The Pacific game was actually one where our fans weren't comically outnumbered. Bensley seems like a great kid.. here's hoping he finds a jumper this off-season..
 
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